Prosecutor’s office arresting witnesses, victims with warrants ahead of them testifying

Prosecutor's jailing of violent assault victim for traffic warrant draws scrutiny upon policy

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Grace Pineda was beaten with a hammer in 2018 allegedly by her boyfriend, Kristopher Kalani.

Pineda, then 31 years old, had broken bones in her face and a head injury.

But earlier this week, she was arrested by the Honolulu prosecutor’s office with the help of deputy sheriffs for a traffic warrant that was issued six months ago.

Prosecutors recently started looking for warrants of witnesses and victims who are set to testify in upcoming trials.

Kalani’s attempted murder trial starts on February 3, less than two weeks.

Kristopher Kalani in court after his arrest for attempted murder
Kristopher Kalani in court after his arrest for attempted murder (Source: None)

“They could have resolved that or reconciled that some other way,” said Nanci Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center, who believes the stepped up enforcement is meant to send a message to victims who may back out of testifying

Attorney Michael Green also thinks it will discourage other victims and witnesses from coming forward fearing arrest, “It’s a horrible thing to do to them, and it’s kind of stupid.”

Green thinks the resources should be put into tracking violent criminals with warrants instead.

In a statement, Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the agency said: “As a law enforcement agency, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney is obligated to enforce laws and court orders.”

Baehr denied that enforcement was stepped up recently, something multiple sources confirmed to Hawaii News Now.

“We cannot ignore warrants we have knowledge of against witnesses simply because they are our witnesses,” Baehr added that arresting individuals they encounter with warrants is not new, but Pineda told Hawaii News Now over the phone that she didn’t just encounter the deputy sheriffs, she was tracked down.

Pineda still suffers from her injuries and sometimes uses a walker. She says she hasn’t been able to hold down a job since the attack.

She paid the $150 bail for the traffic warrant, which was the result a ‘no insurance’ citation that she didn’t show up to court for.

Her hearing for the warrant is set for February 5, two days after Kalani’s attempted murder trial is scheduled to start.

Kalani is being held without bail because of his lengthy and violent criminal past. He served a 10 year sentence for killing a man in a 2006 beating and was charged with assault of a police officer.

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